Whether you’re choosing to self-isolate due to Coronavirus or simply have no choice, you might be looking for some fun ideas of things you can do with the kids that doesn’t involve screens! We’ve got lots of ideas for home-based activities with kids – from craft & games, to exercise, cleaning, home organisation and photography, from local mum Daniela Minns.
I’m obviously still scarred from that time we did nearly 72 hours in lockdown on Hamilton Island during Cyclone Debbie, because I decided to get prepped in case we have to quarantine here. I started a list of things to do with the kids and it quickly got looooong (a decade of pinning kid’s activities finally coming in handy!).
Then I shared the list with friends overseas who are already have their kids quarantined from school, and they started to share it with their friends.
Obviously, we’re very lucky to live in an age of digital entertainment and don’t get me wrong – I will also be utilising that as well to keep the sanity. But this list will help break up the screen-time and keep the kids active and engaged beyond that. Hopefully it helps one mama from going completely cuckoo during this weird time we’re living through!
And if you’re in Australia or another country that isn’t yet quarantined, you can get prepped using the shopping list I added at the end (though lot’s of these you may already have).
If you follow me on instagram, please tag me if you do any of these suggestions and we can play along together!
To make this more fun, you could print and cut these suggestions into strips, then lucky dip an activity. I don’t know why, but my kids love it when I lucky dip things!
Fun activities to do at home with kids
Art & Craft Activities
- Create your own 2020 COVID-19 Memory Book with this free download printable.
- Tint shaving cream with food colouring, paint the windows or glass doors (or the inside of the shower glass) then rinse it off
- Using butchers paper, trace a partner’s whole body. Now try to include as many body parts and organs as you can
- Graffiti the garden fence with chalk
- Make a small bowl, plate, egg cup or statue from air dry clay
- Make Origami animals or paper ninja stars
- Make a mud kitchen in the garden, make different coloured rock paint
- Practice hammering nails into a plank of wood
- Create a “God’s eye” weaving using sticks and wool
- Try shadow drawing, leaf rubbings, painting bark or stones
- Thread pasta into jewellery
- With some old clothes, cut and create clothes for your toys
- Make 3D paper rainbows
- Make your own bubble blower
- Try leaf threading and make a nature chandelier
- Use a mirror to draw a self portrait
- Create an Alfoil river in the garden and float things down it
- Make a paper chain to hang up in the dining room
- Fold paper and cut out paper snowflakes
- Make pom poms out of wool
- Play drawing games like Simon Says drawing
- Put on a puppet show using toys behind the couch
- Make DIY rain clouds in a jar
- Do the magic milk experiment
- Create a sensory shaker bottle using an old bottle, glitter and water (and whatever else you’d like to put in there!)
- Make greeting cards for the stationery cupboard to be used for birthdays and other occasions
- Paint a family portrait to be framed and hung
- Create a paper crown for a member of your family and decorate it
- Try Michelangelo drawing under the table
- Make a pretty lantern using an old jar, tissue paper and glue
- Make an infinite paper flipper!
- Make frozen dinosaur eggs (or you could use fairies, or Ooshies, etc)
- Make a paper cut out family
- Make a paper plate whale
- Try dying some old plain fabric using natural dyes
- Do a chalk photo shoot
- Make a bottle rocket
- Make rainbow paper
- Make a stained glass window using clear contact & cellophane
- Make a marble run
- Paint a stick gnome
- Make a rainbow stick
- Choose an inspirational quote and create a poster for your room
- Make sidewalk paint
- Make a magic potion using aromatherapy oils, glitter, water, petals
- Try sharpie tie dye using a sharpie and rubbing alcohol
- Take some artistic photos in black and white. Play around with filters and see what you can create. You could use a phone or learn how to use the proper camera (if you have one)
- Take some garden clippings and see which ones you can get to grow roots for replanting
- Make a popsicle stick catapult
- Can you draw or paint with your feet?
- Press flowers within a few heavy books
- Learn to finger knit, french knit or braid wool into friendship bracelets
- Sketch your dream red carpet look!
Indoor play activities
- Treasure hunt (with clues, hide a favourite toy somewhere in the house)
- Play dress ups in mum and dad’s clothes – do a photoshoot
- Day spa – do a manicure, pedicure, face mask
- Give someone a back, foot or head massage
- Have a Living Room disco – play freeze, musical chairs, have a dance off
- Build a fort using the couch and every cushion/pillow you can find
- Organise your Lego and then have a building challenge. Who can build the best house, hotel or shop?
- Build a teepee fairy house
- Do a marshmallow toothpick engineering challenge
- Using Lego characters or other small toys, make a stop motion movie (download the app Stop Motion to your phone or Ipad)
- Go through your board/card games and challenge yourself to play them all. Design your own game
- Build a bug hotel
- Fold paper planes and see how far they will fly
- Build the highest block tower you can
- Learn to braid hair
- Keep a balloon in the air as long as possible
- Make a Lego zip line
- Build a house with a deck of cards
- String up the Christmas lights in your living room
- Play cinema – make tickets, popcorn, give your guests a rug and watch a movie together
- Play hotels using your bedrooms as ‘hotel rooms’ or restaurants by setting up the dining room like a restaurant with menus (or hospitals, vets, banks, etc)
- Play the gummy bear game (using dice and 5 gummies each. Roll a 1 you eat one in your pile, a 2 you pass one bear to your left, a 3 you pass to your right, a 4 you keep it, a 5 you eat it, a 6 you keep it – keep playing till the gummies are gone!)
- Use masking tape to make a race track. Race matchbox cars. Or use the inside of your bathtub as a ramp for racing
- Make a time capsule of this time to be opened in 10 years
- Change the bedsheets and build a sheet city in your bedroom before they get washed!
- Make a batch of play doh
- Go through recipe books together and have a bake off challenge
- Learn how to bake bread
Outdoor play activities
- Do a backyard scavenger hunt
- String up a sheet tent in the backyard
- Create an obstacle course
- Write notes of love, compliments or doodles and hide them around the house for family to find
- Put goggles and swimmers on and swim in the bath
- Have a handball tournament
- Find 10 different shaped leaves in the garden
- Outdoor games like egg and spoon race, tag team races, three legged races, or play stuck in the mud
- Get swimmers on and wash the car or your bike!
- Set up camp in the garden and play inside the tent
- Water play – buckets, scoopers, whisk, pouring jugs, straws, bubbles!
- Have a picnic lunch outside. Take books and toys with you.
- Jump rope – can you get to 100 without stopping?
- Lie on a picnic blanket in the garden and spot cloud shapes. Make up a story about what you see.
- Go through clothing from previous seasons, try on and cull things that are too small
- Go through old photos and videos, and old craft and paintings
- Gardening – pull weeds, trim bushes, collect flowers for a vase
- Organise the books on your shelf into a rainbow of colours
- Find three toys to give to charity
- Fill a small spray bottle with water and aromatherapy oil and then spray and wipe the house
- Take everyone’s height measurement on a door frame
- Sort through all your crafts and art supplies. See if something inspires you. Organise and sharpen all your pencils and test all your markers
- Research your family tree – see how far back you can go
- Interview the members of your family on video, or write their answers down
- Write a short story or poem that includes a dog, an umbrella and some sushi
- Try the travelling water experiment
- Take apart an old appliance. Can you put it back together?
- Hop online and try some education games. Discover amazing online education websites
- Go on a virtual tour of places around the world
- Write a letter to a friend, relative or teacher to mail, or start a journal
- Work together to a family emblem, motto or song. Include elements that are important to you and your family
- Make screen time educational! Watch some educational TV shows. Best Educational YouTube Channels for kids
- Choose a picture book each and read aloud to each other in the biggest bed in your house
- Listen to a kid’s podcast or audio book. Podcast suggestions:
- Brains On
- Wow In The World
- Circle Round
- Little Green Pod
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
- Fierce Girls
- Story Pirates
- But Why?
- Make up a workout and do it together (eg: 25 star jumps, 20 squats, 15 crunches, hop like a bunny around the lounge room, frog leap your partner)
- Do an exercise class together on YouTube. Best Free Exercise Workouts for kids on YouTube
Shopping list for craft activities
- Cream of tartar
- Table salt
- All purpose flour
- Food colourings
- Vegetable oil
General craft supplies
- Shaving cream
- Food colouring
- Paper – coloured and white
- Air-dry clay
- Mini marshmallows
- Acrylic paints
- Watercolour paints
- Shaving cream
- Rubbing alcohol
- Butchers paper or a large paper table cloth
- Baking soda
- Duct tape or Masking tape
- An empty plastic bottle
- Black paper
- Clear nail polish
- Tissue paper
- PVA glue
- An old jar
- Sticky tape
- Popsicle sticks